Advanced Plant Care: Plants And Pets
Photo by @jaxandgin
Many people are unaware that several of the most common houseplants are in fact toxic to our pets. So how do you moderate your space when you’re a lover of flora AND fauna? Easy! Just do some research.
At the shop we recommend looking at the ASPCA website prior to bringing a plant home because their list of plants toxic to animals is comprehensive and includes both indoor and outdoor plants. If you discover one of your existing plants is toxic, we suggest keeping it out of reach by hanging the plant from the ceiling with macrame, using a wall planter or a plant stand if it’s a larger plant. One loving pet owner we know created a custom screen to keep her cat away from her precious, yet highly toxic plants.
I know many people who have toxic plants at prime munching level and their pets are uninterested. In this case it’s still important to educate yourself on the symptoms your furry pal will exhibit if they ingest a toxic plant which can range from excessive drooling, vomiting and stomach indigestion to depression. Yes, depression. If you suspect your pet is a sneaky snacker as many are, there are still a number of great pet-safe houseplants for you to choose from. So, unless you have a perpetually grazing bunny who destroys everything you love, pets and plants CAN coexist. Sigh.
Urban Gardener’s Favourite Pet-Safe Plants:
- Peperomia: This genus of plant has a lot of variety. They require bright, indirect light and generally like to dry out between watering; approximately once every seven to ten days. Peperomia obtusifolia and Jelly are often easy to find, but you could easily become a collector!
- Hoya: A succulent-like genera, the many hoyas of the world love bright light and enjoy drying out before a thorough watering. Look for Hoya carnosa and compacta!
- Spider plant: The perfect plant for bright, indirect light to medium light. It’s your standard water once a week kind of plant. Just be sure to check the soil first in case you need to postpone the watering for a few days.
- Calathea: These gals love high humidity (read humidifier or daily misting) and medium to low light. Their soil should be kept evenly moist, which usually involves checking the soil more than once a week to ensure its happiness. They are BEAUTIFUL, often with leaves that appear to be painted. Worth the effort. Look for the Rattlesnake, Ornata, Vittata and Beauty Star.
- Palms: These are a great large pet-safe option! We try to mist palms daily and water to keep the soil evenly moist which usually works out to be once a week. Many palms like bright light, but there are some varieties that can be placed in medium to low light. Look for Parlour palms and Bamboo Florida Hybrid palms for low light situations.